A key worker has hit out at “slap in the face” £25 laundry payment for Dundee carers risking their lives during the pandemic.
Social care bosses awarded staff the sum to meet the “increased cost of laundering work uniforms.”
The carer, who wishes to remain anonymous, is in the high-risk category if she contracts the virus. She has been working with vulnerable members of the Dundee community since the outbreak began.
She said: “This is a slap in the face. I can’t even speak when I think about it. It’s absolutely disgusting. I’m struggling to find the words to describe how I’m feeling.”
An ‘insult’ to care workers
She said the amount offered was an insult to those who continued to risk their lives to look after others.
“We’ve been working extra shifts. We’ve been covering up because there’s been that many off sick. Everything has caught up with me now.
“That wouldn’t even start to cover the extra cost of washing. We’ve been changing and washing our clothes every day since this thing started,” she added.
She struggled to access testing at the start of the outbreak, she added. The workplace stress had also damaged her health and wellbeing.
“It’s terrible and it’s [the sum offered] an insult to the workers who have working all the way through this.”
Labour councillor Michael Marra criticised the “token” laundry payment for Dundee carers.
He said: “The reaction of this care worker says everything you need to know about this patronising token gesture. £25 will buy a couple of boxes of washing powder. It does nothing to meet the real extra costs met by these low paid staff.”
He said health and social care bosses needed to face the “reality” of the increased costs workers face.
“These costs need to be met. The personal sacrifices of care staff have been huge throughout the pandemic. They had to fight to receive the most basic of PPE protection.
“These workers have kept our most vulnerable citizens alive. They don’t need a miserable backhander – they need a pay rise.”
Workers are playing an ‘instrumental role’
The Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership (DHSCP) brings together health and social care services for individuals and communities in Dundee.
Dundee City Council, NHS Tayside, the charity sector and independent providers of health and social care services make up the partnership.
A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said: “In recognition of the increased cost of laundering work uniforms we agreed, in consultation with trade unions, to pay our social care workers in homecare, care homes and learning disabilities a one-off payment towards this cost.
“Our social care workers are continuing to play an instrumental role in supporting the most vulnerable members of the community during this pandemic.
“We would like to thank them for their unwavering dedication and hard work for the people they care for.”
‘Good news for you all’
The worker received a note promising “good news for you all.”
It continued: “Following recent discussions with Trade Unions and managers from DHSCP it has been agreed to pay a one-off payment of £25 to social care workers…
“This is in recognition of the increased cost of laundering work uniforms during this period.
Bosses promised payments “through payroll at the end of November.”
A GMB Scotland spokesman said: “ The council shouldn’t spin a small payment to assist some HSCP staff with laundry costs as good news.
“This wasn’t signed-off with the support of our union. They have a long way to go before they can claim they are providing anything close to proper safety and value for these workers.”